In Bangladesh, physical limitations are often not the most difficult obstacles a disabled person needs to overcome. Attitudes to and perceptions of disability are often even more challenging.
As with many Southern countries, there is little awareness in Bangladesh of disability, its causes and consequences. Many 'traditional' views on the subject still prevail, especially in rural settings. Disability is often seen as a curse from God, inflicted as retribution for the sins of the disabled person's parents. Many believe that disability is infectious and that having a disabled person in the house will bring on an 'evil wind' after which others will be infected with this condition.
Treatment for spinal injuries and other disabling conditions is often based on superstitious methods and performed by untrained village doctors in settings which are neither hygienic nor appropriate. This maltreatment often causes further injury or aggravates the condition of the patient. Avoidable complications are a common consequence of treatment by unqualified practitioners.
Too little work is done in raising awareness about disability or educating people about how disability occurs and how to prevent it. Children rarely mix with disabled friends. The segregation of disabled children prevents stigmas being removed at an early age.
CRP runs innovative awareness raising projects which aim to break down the barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding. Some projects are direct, for example, holding meetings at schools and colleges, while others are more subtle. CRP has produced or co-produced two feature films which aim to raise awareness about disability and generate a greater degree of knowledge and acceptance of disabled people. Both films emphasised the talents of disabled people in either artistic of technical areas. These films are screened in free film showings in areas covered by CRP's Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) programme.